Stop yelling 'O' during the anthem

March Madness is over just in time for baseball to fill the sports void, and like most Oriole fans, I fluctuate between cynicism and cautious optimism. In fact, the only reason I even bother to go to Oriole Park is because I get two free tickets every year from my employer. And it doesn't surprise me how many people go for the same reason, which speaks volumes about the cost of attending sporting events.

For me, it's not just about the price. Winning would be nice and would incline me to attend more, but I have a bad taste in my mouth over sports in general. It's the narcissistic culture that has grown up around sports with ESPN and its offshoots, and unfortunately, baseball players are the worst of the egotistical, over-coddled and over-paid athletes in all of sports, which has dampened my enthusiasm for what was once my favorite sport.

But even if the universe made sense and the hometown teams were perennial champions and the commentators weren't insufferably vain and inane, I would still hesitate to attend any Baltimore sporting event for one reason: the shouting of "O" by the fans during the national anthem.

To shout "O" during our national anthem is disrespectful to America and the singer and trivializes both. Not to mention that it's potentially distracting. Years ago, I actually heard a singer of the anthem stumble upon hearing Baltimore's equivalent of the Rebel Yell.

But the real sticking point for me is when the whole nation is watching and Baltimore behaves like a bunch of clueless yahoos by shouting "O." And when I'm at the game, I sincerely want to slap as many of those morons as possible, but, instead, I choose the better part of valor and settle-in to watch the Orioles struggle yet again.

Charles Hilton, Baltimore

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